Council backs Austrian and Hungarian bans on GM crops

Press release - March 2, 2009
Brussels, Belgium — EU environment ministers have overwhelmingly rejected a European Commission proposal to force member states to accept the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) crops on their territories. Over twenty member states voted against the Commission proposal. Hungary can maintain its ban on Monsanto’s GM maize MON810, and Austria on MON810 and Bayer's T25.

"This is a victory for the environment, farmers and consumers, and a major embarrassment for the Commission. For the fourth time, EU governments have rejected a Commission proposal to lift national bans on GM crops. What part of 'no' does the Commission not understand?" said Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU GMO policy director.

Austrian and Hungarian scientific authorities have recently supplied new evidence supporting their national bans showing that MON810 maize - the only GMO currently cultivated in the EU - is likely to have harmful environmental effects.

"The protection of the environment and public health should always come before the financial interests of a handful of agro-chemical companies," said Contiero.

Other contacts:

Marco Contiero – Greenpeace EU GMO policy director: +32 (0)2 274 1906, +32 (0)477 777 034 (mobile),
Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications manager: +32 (0)2 274 1903, +32 (0)496 156 229 (mobile),